wobbling precariously on the edge of the bed, I would be chided if Grandma caught me. But the lure of the mysterious cardboard box, weathered, with a whiff of old school jumpers was too strong. Another year or so and I would be tall enough, but I couldn’t wait that long. Teased by a light grip of the corners with outstretched fingers, if I tugged, the unknown contents would come tumbling down, and me upon it.
Later over lunch I casually introduced the box into conversation. Grandma happily pulled out the steps from a cupboard, heaving the box down from its dusty home. The contents surprised me: a half finished rug, masses of 2 inch strands of wool in various colours, and a metal hook attached to a wooden handle.
“A latch hook. Here I will show you how it is used.”
That day my Grandmother taught me how to pull loops of yarn through the stiff woven base. No pattern required, simply follow the colours printed on the canvas. With my newly learned skill I spent the rest of my stay completing the rug: a bunch of flowers. Latch hooking is a hobby I have continued into middle age.
The sunflower in the image is my most recent project and is available to purchase on Etsy – Grey Matters Creations.
History of Latch Hooking
Research suggests Vikings perfected the technique of pulling woollen loops through a woven base material. They would have then introduced the technique to Scotland. Examples of rag rugs can also be found at the Folk Museum in Guernsey, indicating the craft was also practiced off the coast of France.
From 1830 onwards machine produced carpeting became popular amongst the rich. Poor women would collect the scraps of leftover material and create their own floor rugs, to either sell, or carpet their slums. Hook rugs of the period were created on burlap, often used grain bags, as they could be acquired for free. Embroidery and quilting was considered fashionable, where as rug hooking was considered a country craft practiced by the poor.
Latch Hooking for Therapy
Easy to learn, the repetitive process of latch hooking is therapeutic. It can be done alone, or with others. Watching a creation develop is a wonderful feeling. As a rookie I would work one colour at a time, but soon discovered I would be left delving into an inch thick thatch. The simplest way is to work in rows or columns, and the rug quickly develops.
Latch hooling tutorial videos are readily available online, as are latch hook kits. I have decide to next attempt my own patterns to sell, maybe as journal and notepad coverings.
” Give it a try. It is good fun and a great source of achievement.”